Best of friends.


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As you know, at BrewDog we live and breathe craft beer – it’s the reason we get up in the morning, and frequently the last thing that occupies our time before we go to bed. But we can also see the bigger picture; you can’t live on beer alone. The good news is that great food goes really well with great beer – and more and more people are discovering this. Sure, wine loves the high ground; but its time as an integral part of dinnertime is under threat. 

One of the main reasons for this is the sheer versatility that beer has, due to the wide and varied number of styles available. Terroir, grape varietals and vintage all play a part with regard to wine, but beer has all of these things (if you apply them to hops rather than grapes) and more; the multitude of differing malt bills, a raft of possible extra ingredients, the action of barrel-ageing, differing yeasts or even souring bacteria.

So when you’ve done your best Jamie Oliver and rustled up something exceptional in the kitchen, how do you know which beer to reach for? Likewise, when you’re perusing the food menu at your local craft beer bar, what do you then stroll up to the counter to order as an accompaniment? Well, a good rule of thumb is to remember the three Cs - Complement, Counter or Cut. And starting today, we are going to look at each one of these in turn – starting with how flavours can really harmonise with one other.


The first thing to consider – and this applies to any of the three Cs – is to ensure neither of the things you are about to enjoy will overpower the other. So no imperial stout with pan-fried sea bass, or light lager with gorgonzola. You want to be able to balance the impact of each half of the pairing! With that in mind, here are some of our food-friendly craft beers and just exactly what kind of food will be their perfect complement.

Headliner – Five AM Red Ale

Some beer and food pairings are unexpected eureka moments, where a dish or drink really sparks off something special you hadn’t envisaged. Five AM and barbecue is the exact opposite of that. If you wanted a poster child for a complementary matching – low, slow sticky ribs and our roasty, caramel and berry-led barnstormer prove to be that textbook match. It’s like one was invented purely to come to the aid of the other; pairing perfection.

Alternate pairings – cheeseburger, Cajun chicken, crème brûlée.

Amplified – Tokyo*

The dark, strong vibrancy of an imperial stout such as Tokyo* really lends itself to the after-dinner courses. A complementary match for our enormously rich, smoky and fruity beer is something equally as decadent: white chocolate ganache. The dark chocolate equivalent works also – but there’s something about the extra sweetness from the former that works brilliantly with the dark majesty of our intergalactic imperial, Tokyo* - particularly if it comes with a berry compote.

Alternate pairings – blue cheese, goulash, smoked duck.

Seasonal – Hop Fiction

Our latest seasonal release, Hop Fiction, is all about the hops. The resultant citrus, tropical and stone fruit flavours need something similar, if we’re talking about Complementary pairings. So something like a Waldorf salad is ideal – the apples and grapes go up against those hop elements really well – whilst the biscuity malt base of the beer plays a perfect twin to the earthier walnuts. The beer also helps cut through the traditional mayonnaise dressing (although more on that ‘C’ in a future post).

Alternate pairings – Pad Thai, fried chicken, fish tacos.

Small Batch – India Pale Weizen

The collaboration we produced with legendary German brewery Weihenstephan is a nod to each of our signature styles – with more flavour elements, there’s greater leeway when pairing with food. Having said that, wheat beers (German or Belgian) pair brilliantly well with mussels. Don’t overthink it. The estery, clovey flavours combine perfectly with the fragrance of the mussels, and the citrus hops from our input into India Pale Weizen marry with the seafood flavours to leave a perfect harmony.

Alternate pairings – apple strudel, sheep’s cheese, pizza (seriously, try it!)

Next time, we’ll take a look at four different BrewDog beers, and will be selecting a variety of foods that fulfil the second of the three pairing Cs – flavours that Counter each other. Until then, if you have any other favourite food matches that complement the beer, let us know in the comments below!

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Comments (4)

Dan H 19.07.2015 @ 10:08pm
Hardcore IPA + Squidgy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies = Happy mouth.
King Bee 14.07.2015 @ 11:06am
Anyone else taking an early lunch?
Jerry L 14.07.2015 @ 11:05am
Hop Fiction and a Waldorf Salad is definitely on the cards for the weekend now!
Ally 14.07.2015 @ 11:03am
Well this is making me hungry....